COPING PART 1
Welcome to our interactive coping pages. This is part 1 of 2. Here, you can use different tools and resources to help you to develop effective strategies for coping with stressful situations. This page will help you to identify the advantages and disadvantages of different coping strategies.
As this page deals with topics that involve thinking about stress, it's a good idea to go through the page with a friend or family member who you can trust, if you feel you might need a bit of extra support.
How to use this page...
As a rough estimate, this page could take around 45 minutes to complete, but take it at your own pace. It's OK to take less or more time than that. We'd strongly recommend having another way of recording your input on this page as what you enter cannot be saved, perhaps you could use...
The notes section on your phone
A pen and paper
A separate Word document
Before we get started, take some time to think about specific situations that might typically make you feel stressed out or anxious.
To get some ideas going, potential examples might be sitting your driving test, or perhaps interacting with someone who you don't always see eye to eye with.
This is your personal space to reflect on situations that might be challenging for you, so there are no right or wrong answers.
Coping strategies are techniques that you can use to help you to manage stressful situations, and there are different strategies that you can choose from.
Every situation is different, just as every person is different. The coping strategy you use in one context is likely to be different from the one you would use in another context. Similarly, what works best for one person might look quite different from what works best for someone else.
When you become more mindful of the stressful situation and how it makes you feel, you can choose the most effective way to respond under those circumstances.
When you aim to deal with a stressful situation logically, we call this a situation focussed coping strategy. This involves facing the situation head on and working out ways to work through the problem in a positive and strengths-based way.
So what does this look like in practice? When you use this type of coping strategy, you typically put in increased effort to tackle the problem. You might also reanalyse your way of dealing with the problem and make a new plan based on the information you have about the situation.
An emotion focussed coping strategy is one where you aim to regulate your emotions, so that you can reduce your stress levels and effectively manage the situation.
When you use this kind of coping strategy, you might use techniques such as deep breathing or other types of relaxation exercises. For a description of some of our favourite grounding techniques, which can help you to find your reset button in a stressful moment, download our free infographics and keep copies on your phone.
Another example of what this type of coping strategy might look like in practice is in seeking out social support. Be sure to check out our Dream Team tool to help you to identify and build your support network.
For both of these coping strategies, you can use two key coping styles: approach and avoidance.
As the name suggests, when you practise approach coping, you aim to address the stressful situation directly. You might use lots of positive and realistic thinking.
Avoidance coping is the term used to describe when you remove yourself from the stressful situation either physically, such as by walking away, or mentally, for example through cognitive distancing.
When we put these strategies and styles together, they form a 2x2 grid. Hover over the boxes below to learn more about each way of coping.
An unpleasant emotional state
2 x 2 COPING GRID
Reflect on the situation causing the stress and try to change it
Use relaxation skills to reduce your stress levels, for example using grounding techniques
Try again and don't worry about it (distract yourself or walk away from the situation)
Ignore the situation as if it didn't bother you, and walk away
There are advantages and disadvantages to each of the techniques in the grid above. The most effective technique in one situation might be quite different from the most effective technique in another situation.
For example, it's often helpful to try to tackle your problems head on, but sometimes this can result in conflict and might actually escalate the situation. In that case, it would be more beneficial to try to avoid the situation.
When considering which coping technique is best for you, it's a good idea to think about which of your personal strengths you could draw upon to help you to cope.
For example, if you are good at remaining calm under pressure, you might prefer to use grounding techniques to help you to manage the situation.
Take some time to reflect on the grid above and use the boxes below to come up with some examples of when it would be useful and not so useful to use approach and avoidance.
Consider whether it's always easy to practise techniques such as walking away: can you think of a time when this could be challenging?
THE COPING GRID IN ACTION
Great job so far! We've covered a lot on this page, so feel free to take a short break if you need to. This next section is an added extra if you're feeling up to it.
In this final section, you have the opportunity to reflect on how the coping grid can help you to cope with stressful situations.
Use the text boxes and sliders below to reflect on how you currently try to cope with stressful situations. Then, start to think about how you might change the strategies and skills you use, and reflect on how much this might help you to manage stressful situations more effectively.
If you enjoy using the text boxes and sliders as a way to reflect, you can check out our other interactive tools, such as the if/then planning page.
How effective is this?
Not at all
How effective would this be?
Not at all
would i feel more in control?
Not at all
Very much so
LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS
We hope you found this interactive page helpful for reflecting on how to cope more effectively with stressful situations. We recommend keeping a personal copy of your answers, as the work on here cannot be saved.
To learn more about effective coping techniques, you can try out part 2 of our interactive coping pages.
You can now subscribe to our blog for lots of top tips and information around how to manage stress.
Finally, we'd love to know what you thought of this page. How helpful did you find it? What else could we have included to make it more informative? Were there any technical glitches? Or any other comments! Just type you feedback in the box below and press send :)